Saturday, January 25: Not one stone will be left on another
We return to our occasional reading from beginning to end through the Gospel of Luke, which emphasizes the way God acts among people and across history through Christ.
Read Luke 21:5-9
Some of his disciples were remarking about how the temple was adorned with beautiful stones and with gifts dedicated to God. But Jesus said, "As for what you see here, the time will come when not one stone will be left on another; every one of them will be thrown down."
"Teacher," they asked, "when will these things happen? And what will be the sign that they are about to take place?"
He replied: "Watch out that you are not deceived. For many will come in my name, claiming, 'I am he,' and, 'The time is near.' Do not follow them. When you hear of wars and uprisings, do not be frightened. These things must happen first, but the end will not come right away."
The temple was the center of Jewish life in Jesus' day. For Jesus to talk about its destruction must have been very disconcerting to his disciples. Understandably, they wanted to know how they could predict when this frightening thing would happen. Isn't this human nature? How often do we use our faith to make us feel like we're more in control when we — in fact — are not in control at all?
Throughout the centuries, many have tried to use Scripture to make predictions about when Jesus will return, or when the end of this earthly existence will occur. Some have predicted certain days or years based on their own "secret" understanding of hard-to-understand texts. Why do you think we humans do this? What might we do with our fears of the future instead of trying to grasp control?